Leaders and senior ministers from 46 countries forming the Council of Europe are meeting in the Polish capital. One of their goals is to redefine the Council’s role against the backdrop of an expanding European Union. One of the salient messages to come out of the first day of the two day gathering was that the EU and Council of Europe should not act as rivals, but work together. The organisation which functions as a human rights watchdog will also aim to reinforce a commitment to democracy amongst its members states.
Lithuania’s President lashed out at Belorussia, the only European country excluded from the Council, he called it a grey zone on a map of European democracy. Host nation Poland spoke out against countries with a poor record on human rights, freedom of the press and corruption.